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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2009): Care of the elderly - overseas

Ageing and technology: a review of the research literature

C.M. Blaschke, P.P. Freddolino, and E.E. Mullen

British Journal of Social Work, vol.39, 2009, p. 641-656

While population ageing around the world raises serious concerns about social security, pensions, long-term care, healthcare and family systems, digital-age tools have been proposed as possible resources to improve outcomes. Much has been written suggesting that assistive technologies and information and communication technologies may improve quality of life, extend length of community residence, improve mental and physical health, delay the onset of serious health problems and reduce family and caregiver burden. This review seeks to separate the evidence base for these claims from simple optimism about the value of technology-based tools.

Aging families and caregiving

S. Qualls and S. Zarit (editors)

Hoboken, N.Y.: Wiley, 2009

With the field of geriatric mental health growing rapidly as the Baby Boomers age, this guide brings together a notable team of international contributors to provide guidance for caregivers, families, and those who counsel them on managing caregiving challenges for aging family members. The book helps mental health professionals guide families and other caregivers as they adjust to the demands of caring for aging family members. It covers:

  • The support provided by families for elderly family members
  • Integration of families into long-term care mental health services
  • Clinical services for families engaged in the care of an older person
  • The background in social services and policy required for professionals in order to practice effectively with older adults and their families
  • Future directions in family caregiving

End of life care in dementia

E.L. Sampson and L. Robinson (editors)

Dementia, vol. 8, 2009, p. 331-441

This special issue highlights how small local initiatives, developed by enthusiastic clinicians, and tailored to individual patient and carer needs, can have a significant impact. It presents some examples of such initiatives, which demonstrate how effective multi-disciplinary bridges can be built to provide better quality end of life care for people with dementia, at very modest cost. At an international level, the issue includes articles on:

  1. how the development of 'hospice appropriateness' criteria is improving access to American hospices for people with dementia
  2. the development of advance care planning in New South Wales
  3. the creation of 'relief of suffering units' in Israel, tailored to the Jewish faith.

Older people with transnational families: the social policy implications

N. Lunt

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.18, 2009, p. 243-251

More people permanently migrate to live in a different country than ever before. This greater mobility raises fundamental social policy questions around entitlement and renegotiation of caregiving obligations and arrangements. Migration contributes to families being 'stretched' beyond national borders and being dispersed across the globe. This article focuses on older people as members of transnational families. Drawing on the experience of New Zealand, it discusses immigration policy, pension eligibility and portability, and social services and caregiving issues.

The welfare state, the individual and the need for care: older people's views

E. Gunnarsson

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 18, 2009, p. 252-259

This study investigated how older people experienced ageing and reflected on their need for care in the context of the Swedish welfare state. Sixteen people aged between 77 and 92 years were interviewed. All wanted above all to stay healthy and remain independent. None wanted to be a burden on society or their children. Through media reports and the experience of their neighbours, they had gained a negative impression of eldercare, which they regarded as stigmatising, and preferred not to think about ever needing it.

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